Have you ever noticed that the marketing campaigns produced by some companies all feel like lead generation efforts? The problem with that is that once you’ve given over your information for content, it seems insulting to be asked to repeatedly provide the same data. Lead nurturing should be an evolutionary process designed to build a relationship—not an effort that feels like a continual restart. Lead generation is the act of motivating someone to give their permission for you to contact them. Lead nurturing is based on building a relationship after you gain that permission.
Convincing someone to part with their precious contact information to get your content usually means it has to be something considered highly valuable—content meaty enough to indicate a fair exchange from the lead’s perspective. Things like white papers and webinars generally fit the bill.
Once you’ve gotten the lead to opt in, nurturing begins—or it should. This is where marketing automation software helps marketers make the switch from asking to helping. With marketing automation, marketers have the ability to funnel leads into campaigns with shorter, very accessible content related to the reason the lead chose to opt in originally. Even better, marketers can monitor how leads respond and even note when interests may change based on their online behavior.
The other reason that technology is a godsend is because, in a B2B complex sale, the sales cycle can be long. Managing all of your leads to ensure that you’re sharing relevant information is pretty much impossible to do manually. With the right technology, marketers have a clear advantage with capabilities that help them to more easily manage all the stages of lead nurturing.
Consider the goals of lead nurturing and try to imagine how you’d have the insights to manage them effectively without a marketing automation solution. In fact, how would you even know?
- Maintain attention across the buying cycle.
- Deliver valuable information that educates leads about top priorities.
- Prevent defection to competitors.
- Prove your company delivers value leads won’t get elsewhere.
- Facilitate progress through the marketing funnel.
- Qualify sales-ready leads.
If your lead nurturing campaigns resemble lead generation offers, your leads are likely to become fatigued with the form requirements, diminishing your marketing effectiveness. Since you already have their contact information, collecting it repeatedly is irritating for your leads and problematic to your database. Not to mention that treating a lead as if you don’t know them doesn’t help to build a relationship.
The real loss for marketers is that they’re not learning anything new. Consider what could be possible when forms can be used to collect progressive information that helps to flesh out lead profiles. After all, the more you know about your leads, the more relevant both marketing and sales efforts can become.
Just remember that there’s a huge difference between the goals and objectives of each initiative. If you’re approaching your lead nurturing efforts the same way you approach lead generation, perhaps it’s time to consider an alternative approach that can help to dramatically improve marketing performance.